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Thrills for the week

February 6
World party: Musicians from the four corners of Asia are holding a mini harmonic convergence in the area tonight, offering audiences sound bites crossing the gamut from exotic and otherworldly to heart-poundingly physical to aesthetically classic and staid. There's nothing like freedom of choice.

To begin with, who ever thought that a rough and ready, wild bunch of range rovers could make some of the most soulful ambient music on earth? The remarkable ensemble Huun-Huur-Tu, Throat Singers of Tuva, horsemen who hail from the far-flung border region between Siberia and Outer Mongolia, use difficult harmonic singing techniques similar to those employed by Tibetan monks to mimic natural sounds including birdsong, jingling stirrups and waterfalls. For those tired of last month's stock-show twangers, the group is a certain antidote: So what if these 'pokes herd sheep and yaks instead of longhorn steers? Theirs is the most unusual version of cowboy music you'll ever hear. Huun-Huur-Tu performs tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; to reserve tickets, $14.70 in advance ($16.80 day of show), call 786-7030 or 830-TIXS.

Pound for pound, the best deal in town for percussion lovers tonight is Kodo, an astonishing Japanese troupe of twenty taiko drummers who pummel a variety of instruments ranging in size from hand-held clackers to a 900-pound o-daiko drum so huge it requires two strong, sinewy men to play it properly. If that doesn't rattle your shoes, nothing will. Kodo flexes its mallets at 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. For tickets, $19 to $30, call 830-TIXS.

February 7
Three from the heart: Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. That's the sound of your sweetie's heart beating, reminding you that Valentine's Day is only a week away. And maybe it's time for a twist on the old flowers, chocolates and ruffly, peekaboo undergarments. So how do you get goopy without getting overly gooey? Here's a sampling of gallery shows designed with someone special in mind: In Boulder, the MacLaren Markowitz Gallery, 1011 Pearl St., holds its seventh annual Valentine-minded Jewelry Extravaganza, featuring skillfully crafted metal work by five artists. Receptions take place tonight from 6 to 9 and tomorrow from 1 to 4; the show remains on display through the end of February. Call 449-6807.

Artful love objects are also offered this month at Cherry Creek North's pair of elegant Pismo contemporary-art-furniture-and-glass galleries. Both locations--one-of-a-kind furnishings abound at 2727 E. 3rd Ave., while glass items ranging from transparent and delicate to enormous, flashy and flamboyant can be found at 235 Fillmore St.--feature Treasures From the Heart through February 27. Discerning shoppers will find everything from sweet paper lamps to translucent perfume bottles; call 333-7724 or 333-2879 for information.

Or maybe your baby is a serious art collector hoping for something more enduring than an expensive chatchke. On the alternative side, Zip 37 Gallery, at 3644 Navajo St., spotlights the charming, emblematic works of local artist Sandy Toland with Big & Red, a one-woman show of new paintings. An opening reception kicks things off tonight from 7 to 10; Toland's show hangs through February 23. Call 477-4525.

Smooth operetta: Only in the farcical world of Gilbert and Sullivan do operatic characters get away with having names like Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, Poo-Bah and Pish-Tush. (That's Mr. Pish-Tush to you, thank you! These are people, not Pekingese pooches.) Throw in tongue-twisting lyrics and an occasional burlesque-style kick in the pants, and you've got The Mikado, one of the Victorian Age's favorite light operas. Joined by voices from the Central City Opera and the Colorado Symphony Chorus, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra provides its own take on the silly plot tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 and Sunday at 2:30 in Boettcher Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Admission ranges from $5 to $38; call 830-TIXS.

February 8
Lone Star date: Chances are you've never heard of Tom Russell, though the songs he writes have been put to good use by such stars as Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Suzy Boguss, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely--to name a few of the hard-bitten country crooners and roadhouse rockers who've chosen to add his tunes to their acts. But the brusque Texas bard and Hightone recording artist displays a grizzled charm that's sure to popularize him with the same crowd listening to any of the above, as well as fans of pal and Hightone label-mate Dave Alvin, the former rockabilly Blaster from Downey, Calfornia, who's written a few good songs of his own. Hear Russell tonight at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St.; popular Western swing picker Sean Blackburn opens the show at 8. For tickets, $12 ($10 Swallow Hill members), call 777-1003.

Dashing through the snow: You may think you're a hiker, but until you've done it in the snow, you just haven't experienced life to the fullest. And in truth, snowshoers don't exactly dash. New ones might even slog and groan. But it's all in fun, and it's smashing good exercise, aerobically challenging and guaranteed to put color in your cheeks. The pain, it seems, comes later. At any rate, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance wants you to try the sport on for size by providing free use of equipment, lessons and guided hikes over the drifts near Grand Lake as part of its Winter Trails Day, taking place today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, located seventeen miles out of Grand Lake on Hwy. 34. There's nothing better than a tramp in the woods to build up your spirits, and this one is free; for additional information call 838-3760.

February 9
Sing the Badi electric: Though she's the baby of the family, Brazilian guitar sensation Badi Assad has no problem keeping up with her bandolin-playing dad or with brothers Sergio and Odair, who record as Duo-Assad. All on her own, the 28-year-old Assad--an actress as well as a musician--has garnered praise around the world for her trademark lightning-bolt chops, percussive vocals and outgoing, curly-tressed charisma. The young wunderkind of Sao Paulo casts her spell tonight at 7 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $8.40, call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS.

The big chili: Old friends meet for a funeral, talk about old times and examine the ways in which they've grown up and drifted apart. A familiar plot? You bet your playbill. There are many similarities between The Last Angry Brown Hat, an Edward James Olmos-produced play by East L.A. playwright Alfredo Ramos, and The Big Chill. But the biggest difference in the Ramos-Olmos effort is context. The protagonists are four male Chicano activists, onetime Brown Berets who've moved on from their protest days to lead varied lives and embrace disparate values. Here's proof that Nash Bridges isn't the only dramatic undertaking to crawl from the rubble of Miami Vice. The touring production hits the stage of the Paramount Theatre for one performance only, today at 3 p.m.; for tickets, $12.50 and $20, call 830-TIXS.

February 10
Reel time: Another Monday night, and you're home twiddling your thumbs in front of the TV again. Sounds to us like it's time to go to the movies--where, if you choose your venue carefully, you can your twiddle thumbs in the comforting dark of someone else's living room, at little or no cost. Soap-opera fans can check out the original potboiler novel when the Boulder Public Library Film Series presents Vincent Minnelli's 1949 version of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, with Jennifer Jones obsessing dramatically in the starring role. Part of an ongoing series-within-a-series of films based on classic novels, Madame Bovary screens tonight at 7:30 in the BPL Auditorium, 1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. So which is better, the book or the movie? That's for you to decide--get off your couch-potato rear and go see. Admission is free; call 441-3197.

February 11
The children's hour: Kids need culture, too, and now there's one more place in town where they can get it. The all-new Shwayder Children's Theatre presents Beauty and the Beast as its inaugural stage offering for tykes, but that doesn't mean you adults won't savor your roles as chaperons. Featuring Susan Ross as Beauty, Deborah Persoff as her mother, Lady Fern, and David Dean as the big lug himself, the Shwayder staging promises to be a class operation, with high-quality actors, lovely sets, and not a Disney character in sight. Performances continue at 10 a.m. and noon Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Sundays at 1 and 4 p.m., with additional weekday shows scheduled during March; admission ranges from $3.50 to $6. Call 321-8297 to reserve tickets.

Mardi Gras mambo: Baby, it's cold outside--but you can still throw on your Mardi Gras beads and party the way they do in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday. Like Mom always says, just don't forget to take a sweater. Dixieland devotees the Boulder Friends of Jazz are slated to deliver a slice of Crescent City ambience to downtown Boulder this afternoon and evening with a string of festivities that look, sound and taste authentic. Weather permitting, the Vern Baumer Quartet will start things off with an umbrella-and-jazz parade beginning at the Boulder County Courthouse, 1300 Pearl St., and winding its way up and down the Pearl Street Mall before detouring to Trios Grill and Wine Bar, 1155 Canyon Blvd., where the band continues playing until 7. Trios patrons can order up N'awlins specials--including jambalaya, red beans and rice and crawfish etouffee--and dance in costume to the Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra from 7 to 10. The parade and early-evening music are free, while admission to the party is $10 in advance or $12 at the door; for information or phone reservations call 442-8400, ext. 1, or 449-5930.

More quiet perhaps, but no less over-the-top celebratory, is an authentic New Orleans-style dinner offered tonight at romantic Anastasia Vieux Carre, 5946 S. Holly St. in Greenwood Village. Since Fat Tuesday announces the beginning of the Lenten fast, food is of the utmost importance here, and if the idea doesn't immediately steal your heart, the warm orange bread pudding with rum sauce most certainly will. Call 770-2073 for reservations.

February 12
All that jazz: A little mid-week music can provide better fuel for your soul than any quadruple-shot espresso drink, stomach-melting cola or Mount Everest of carbohydrates. Perpetual Motion--an original local trio performing an eclectic mixture of jazz, classical, folk and rock music on violin, guitar and percussion--mans the Colorado Chautauqua's Wednesday Acoustic Series tonight at 7. Head for Boulder, meander up Baseline Rd. to Ninth and hang a left--the concert takes place in the cozy Chautauqua Community House, on Morning Glory Drive. Call 440-7666 for details.


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